Honoring Two Very Special Public Servants

Larry Garito had a memorable career at Delray Beach Fire Rescue.

It was a weekend of love, affection and appreciation in Delray Beach.
Two well-known and beloved community servants were honored: one at a memorial at the Elks Club and one at a retirement party at the Delray Beach Golf Club.
We attended both events and came  away with a feeling that The Beatles were right: “And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.”
Retired Delray Beach Fire Rescue Lt. Larry Garito was remembered as someone who was devoted to two families; his real one and his extended family at Delray Fire Rescue.
In cruising the room and talking to old friends gathered at The Elks Club, it seemed that everyone remembered Larry’s warm smile, friendly personality and desire to bring people together.
He found a great outlet at Delray Fire Rescue where he was one of the more visible firefighters working in the community and teaching children and adults about fire safety. He was a great ambassador to the outside world and did his best to take new firefighters under his wing.
Larry and his late wife Barbara, the former city clerk, were devoted to Delray. His son, son in law and grandchildren work or have worked at Delray Fire Rescue creating a legacy of service that few families can match.
Larry mentored younger firefighters and was well known by generations of elected officials who welcomed his advice and insights.
I valued our conversations and the many laughs we shared over the years and I absolutely adored his wife Barbara, one of the warmest people I’ve ever met. During my years in office, if I ever needed a pick me up or a dose of happiness, I would wander over to the City Clerk’s office where you could count on kindness and smiles.
I admired the closeness of the Garito family and when I lived in Sabal Lakes, Larry would often ride his bike to my house so we could talk shop. He loved his city and his fire department.
A wide cross section of Delray turned out to pay respects to this kind man: active duty firefighters, retirees, fire chiefs, the retired assistant city manager and retired city attorney, a former commissioner, business leaders, neighbors and of course a slew of Elks.
Larry Garito was a special man. He loved his city, his job, his family and his friends and they loved him back.

Dorothy Ellington led the Delray Beach Housing Authority with kindness and a passion for people,

Later that night, a large crowd filled a banquet room at the Golf Club to celebrate the retirement of Dorothy Ellington after 32 years of service to Delray Beach including more than two decades as head of the Delray Beach Housing Authority.
Dorothy cleaned up a troubled agency and  positively impacted the lives of so many by providing affordable housing to families she genuinely cared for and took the time to know. She also enriched the lives of her staff whose outpouring of love was truly touching to see.

Dorothy got along with everyone. She cared deeply about housing and was passionate about the people she served.
She had an extraordinary career in a tough field rife with regulations and challenges.
She led with love.
She left us wanting more.
The great ones always do.
They also lead with love, have passion for the mission and touch lives.
When they pass that doesn’t go away. And when they retire they are remembered. They leave a legacy for all who follow.
Delray has been blessed with some extraordinary people who have given this town their all.
That’s our  secret sauce.
It isn’t about buildings or the issue du jour. It’s about loving and serving your community.
And it’s vitally important to thank those who do.


  1. Thanks Jeff – two very special people who were an important part of of making Delray special.

    • Charles Stravino says

      Thanks Jeff. I can’t thank you enough for capturing the essence of our family for the second time. Both Larry and Barbara respected the wonderful contributions You made to our City and cherished your friendship. I appreciate you taking the time to acknowledge how very special they were to family, friends and the community.


      • Jeff Perlman says

        Thanks my friend. I’ve always been in awe of your family and how much you have given to our town. I felt privileged to be in office when you, Larry, Barbara and Tim were there.

  2. Frances Bourque says

    Once again, I have tears remembering and honoring the folks who have made our “ sense of place” make more sense. Dorothy was a professional who knew her community and brought full measure to a job that had no precedent. She created them! And dear Larry, our neighbor and friend. Tim and Chris and Andrew played baseball and Larry, Barbara and Bob and I sat in the bleachers…. until Bob left to deliver a baby and Larry to
    Put out a fire!!! These last few weeks have been difficult as we have lost the folks that have made Delray great. What a precedent Delray has set for all to follow. “Catch them doing good!” Hope it is just that…. a precedent! And we catch many more.

  3. Kellie Stravino says

    Mr. Perlman, you wrote beautiful words about my grandmother when she passed a few years ago and you have done it again to honor my grandfather. As the oldest grandchild I want to thank you for your kind words. They both loved Delray Beach so much and I know their spirits live on through many people in the city and even those who may not live or work here anymore.
    Again, thank you so much for making this difficult time a little easier.

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Dear Kellie:
      Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean so much.
      I adored your grandparents. They were so special and touched so many lives. I feel very lucky to have met your family.
      Wishing you the best during this tough time, Jeff

  4. Bettie Powers says

    I knew neither of these great people and. I enjoyed reading all the great comments. I love Delray and have enormous respect for all of our leaders

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